Adopt-a-Tree still available

Caring for your tree

Now is the time to water your tree, the early summer has brought little rain, and a common cause of loss of trees is too little water. Please stop in the foyer of the Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center to borrow a water jug and pick up a form, full the jug, water your tree, take its picture, and note its condition on the form. Send the picture and information to and we will keep track of it. We are hoping to show that the adopted trees do better than the “orphans” that were planted the same day but not given special care. Do your part to help the forest regenerate after buckthorn removal.

For the April 29th John Neitge Earth Day oak seedling planting event we introduced something new: our Adopt-a-Tree program. The bur oak seedings were obtained from Washington Conservation District. Over 160 were planted in buckthorn-cleared areas of Sunfish Lake Park, but more are available at the Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center.

Interested in adopting a tree? It’s a great opportunity for each child (or adult) to have their own tree for only $5! Email us at with name(s) and address(es) of the tree adopter(s). When you sign up, we will work out a time for a guide to take the adopter(s) out to the Park location where the trees can be planted. Click the PayPal button below to pre-pay and reserve your tree(s).

Each tree has a unique number. We are working on a system to keep track of the location of each one. Please bear with us while we work out the technical difficulties. Then, when the adopter visits their tree, they can report on how it is faring. We want to see if adopted trees do better than orphans, and we are also having 25 oak seedlings “fostered” by the Washington County Master Gardeners at their new Gravel Bed Tree Nursery just South of the 4H Building at the Washington County Fairgrounds.

Watch HERE for future news of this project.


You can pick up your oak seedling, stake, protective tube, and number tag at the Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center right before planting time


For $5 you will receive an oak seedling, 12-18 inches tall, a plastic bag to keep the roots moist before planting, the stake and protective tube for planting it, with a number label. Each tree will get a unique number, and we will provide GPS latitude and longitude values so you can find it in the future. Any time the Park is open, you can visit your tree to water it, measure it, count the leaves, and photograph it. When you send us this information by email, we will add it to the database as soon as it is ready, so it can be used to study the success of the Restoration of Sunfish Lake Park project.

Overview of the 2023 John Neitge Earth Day Activities

Once again, the Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center celebrated Earth Day by advancing the Restoration of Sunfish Lake Park. Please visit the “Buckthorn Removal” tab for background information.

Earth Day activities at the SMINC are being done in memory of John Neitge, our Friend who passed away in December of leukemia. John was a Board Member of Friends of Lake Elmo’s Sunfish Lake Park, organized the three activities for Earth Day 2022, led the Kite Flying, Walking Stick Carving, and Spoon Carving events, and through his energy, willingness to help, and positive attitude “Excellent!” was an inspiration to all.